The NYPD didn’t arrest members of a right-wing gang who beat a man in Manhattan

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes also co-founded VICE media.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes also co-founded VICE media.
Image: Reuters/Andrew Kelly
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Members of a far-right group were filmed beating up a protester on October 12 in Manhattan, and bragging about it afterwards. New York police who arrived on the scene made no arrests, and now local politicians and civil rights groups are wondering why they didn’t do more.

In one video, about a dozen men are shown circling a man who is repeatedly kicked while lying on the sidewalk. Police arrive on the scene but don’t arrest anybody, and the khaki pants-wearing assailants walk unhurriedly away. One man can be heard shouting, “Look at my MAGA hat.” Several men in the video are wearing red hats in the same shade as president Trump’s “Make America Great Again” design.

The attacks took place after a speech at the Metropolitan Republican Club on the Upper East Side by Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys, a collective of self-described “Western chauvinists” dubbed a hate group by anti-extremism watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center. Former Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped organize the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last year in which a protester was killed.

The SPLC identified three of the attackers as members of far-right skinhead groups. The Proud Boys were involved in a brawl in Portland, Oregon, on the following night (Oct. 13). Portland police said there were no arrests there either.

During the talk, McInnes, who co-founded VICE Media and left the company in 2008, reportedly called the murder by sword of a socialist in Japan by an ultranationalist teenager, an “inspiring moment.” A man believed to be McInnes is shown in a Fox News video publicly wielding a sword, but misidentified as an “antifa” member by Fox.

Three men were arrested in what seems to be a separate incident after McInnes’s talk, on charges of robbery, assault, and, in one case, resisting arrest, the NYPD said. The three assailants were left-wing protesters, according to the SPLC. The NYPD hasn’t confirmed whether they were associated with any particular group.

In another video, Proud Boys members are shown bragging about the assault. “Dude, I had one of their fucking heads, and I was just fucking smashing it in the pavement!” one person says. Others shout the Proud Boys motto, “Fuck around, find out.”

Photojournalist Shay Horse, who documented one attack, said police were “standing there and watching while doing absolutely nothing.”

Rory Lancman, chair of the New York City council’s justice committee, criticized the NYPD’s response. “How could we not arrest and prosecute white supremacists committing hate crimes in Manhattan?” he asked the New York Times. “The police rolled up and didn’t arrest anyone.” The New York City public advocate is asking for the police to “investigate and arrest” each individual involved.

The NYPD didn’t answer questions about the videotaped beating. It said in a statement that it is reviewing video evidence to see if other crimes were committed, and that people with more videos or information should contact 1-800-577-TIPS.

On a video posted to the Proud Boys’ Facebook page, shot in a Manhattan bar afterwards, McInnes is carrying a sword, and brandishes a mask which he says they stole from anti-fascist protesters. Another Proud Boy member ends the video saying, “we’re all right, no cuts no bruises, just Antifa loses.”

This article incorrectly said earlier the SPLC had identified three of the attackers as Proud Boys, not members of skinhead groups.